January 1, 2008

2008 iPod divination

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 5:20 PM

It's January 1, and time for the traditional consultation with the iPod oracle regarding the new year. Drawing ten songs at random and interpreting them as in a Celtic Cross tarot reading (key here), I get,

  1. The Covering: Belle & Sebastian, "Judy and the Dream of Horses"
  2. The Crossing: Junior Boys, "In the Morning"
  3. The Crown: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Fancy"
  4. The Root: Guided By Voices, "Kicker of Elves"
  5. The Past: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, "Better Dead Than Lead"
  6. The Future: Bloc Party, "Pioneers"
  7. The Questioner: Stars, "Window Bird"
  8. The House: Bloc Party, "Where Is Home?"
  9. The Inside: Arcade Fire, "The Well and the Lighthouse"
  10. The Outcome: The Hold Steady, "How A Resurrection Really Feels"

Wow. I don't think any commentary is needed here. Sometimes it's just too obvious...

September 19, 2007

Avast! Ahoy! Yo ho! And so forth!

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 10:29 AM

YARR! It be Talk Like A Pirate Day! Traditionally (ok, just last year), I announce the Pirate Song of the Year today, but I can't think of any sufficiently piratical songs that have come out this year. However, we are taking nominations in the comments.

Instead, we open a new category: The Pirate Film of the Year.

Gore Verbinski, present yerself at the foredeck!

For the achievement of Pirate Film So Reportedly Lame I Didn't Bother Seeing It (of the Year), ye are rewarded with a one-way voyage to Davy Jones' Locker. Feed him to the sharks!


And now, the Pirate Film of the Year: Stardust. An extra share of booty fer Neil Gaiman, Matthew Vaughn, and Robert De Niro! ARRR!

Elsewhere, Chris Bertram warns not to try talking like a pirate in Bristol, where they talk like this all the time.

June 20, 2007


Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:46 PM

I really shouldn't have done this, but once I had the idea, I had to follow through.

Permalink | Tags: Randomness

March 14, 2007

The Day Before the Ides of March

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 2:07 PM

Today is Albert Einstein's birthday. It's also Pi Day, but like T-Rex I prefer Pi Approximation Day on July 22, not to mention Euler's Number Day on February 71.

When I was advised to Google "March 14th" I expected something related to the above, but the first result reveals something else entirely.

Permalink | Tags: History, Randomness, Science, Sex

February 20, 2007

T-Rex and superfluidity

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 7:05 PM

This post by Mason inspired me to make a Dinosaur Comic:

Noninertial theology (Image is behind the link because it's too wide for the blog template.)

The thesis in question was by Richard Packard, who is a Berkeley physics professor. I can only hope decades from now somebody will be writing Dinosaur Comics about my thesis.

Permalink | Tags: Comics, Physics, Randomness

January 25, 2007

Contact the patent office!

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 6:34 PM

Over coffee I and another grad student had a brilliant innovation: an electric guitar with SQUID pickups! Due to the high sensitivity and low noise of the SQUID, we expect the sound quality to be extremely good. Of course, the guitar will have to be filled with liquid nitrogen (we're assuming high-Tc SQUIDs here) or equipped with a cryocooler. The LN2-filled guitar would have the advantage of producing plumes of fog on demand, and would be especially spectacular when smashed against the stage at the end of the show.

Permalink | Tags: Music, Physics, Randomness

October 13, 2006

Friday Random 10: Emergency Filler

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:43 PM

I just noticed that I've only posted four times in the month of October. Um... here's a Friday Random 10! (If only I had some cat pictures...)

  1. Stereolab, "Percolator"
  2. TV on the Radio, "Ambulance"
  3. Radiohead, "No Surprises"
  4. The Decemberists, "The Engine Driver"
  5. The Arcade Fire, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"
  6. Nirvana, "Stay Away"
  7. Radiohead, "Paranoid Android"
  8. Sleater-Kinney, "The Remainder"
  9. Pixies, "Where Is My Mind?"
  10. Franz Ferdinand, "Evil and a Heathen"

This is from the four-and-five-star playlist, which accounts for the very high quality of the selection.

Purify the colors, purify my mind.
Purify the colors, purify my mind,
and spread the ashes of the colors
in this heart of mine.

Permalink | Tags: Friday Random 10, Music, Randomness

September 14, 2006

Shouldn't the companion be named Norton?

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 9:31 PM

Via Dynamics of Cats, the "dwarf planet" whose discovery led to Pluto's demotion has been named Eris, losing its previous informal name of Xena. Steinn responds with an appropriate "Hail Eris!", but then wonders if dwarf planets should have dwarf names.

As a sometime-admirer of the Goddess (one of the patron deities of Kaos Alley), I am pleased to see her recognized here, even if it is a dinky little dwarf planet. (At least it has an appropriately eccentric orbit.) In her honor, I suggest going bowling, eating hotdogs (especially tomorrow), or generally doing something chaotic. Initiates can go here, and click randomly in the table of contents.

Via Pharyngula, the Bad Astronomy blog finds a wingnut who thinks that this naming choice is... a vicious liberal attack on George W. Bush. His argument is based on the fact that the Caltech is in California and therefore must be a major liberal enclave. I would like to propose a slightly more plausible theory, in which the game Illuminati is an accurate representation of world affairs, and the Discordian Society has just added the IAU to their power structure.

Permalink | Tags: Caltech, Randomness, Religion, Science

August 21, 2006

Zombies on Market Street

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 2:02 PM

Saturday afternoon a zombie invasion hit San Francisco. Unfortunately I was completely unaware of this, otherwise Josh and I would have gone to see it. I'll have to get on the mailing list for the next one. Naturally the zombies eventually ended up at the Apple Store. (Via Boing Boing.)

Permalink | Tags: Randomness, San Francisco, Zombies

July 9, 2006

French Combat Soccer

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 9:32 PM

I didn't watch any of the soccer game today, but Yglesias is right: that headbutt is awesome. Obviously I should have watched the game so I could have seen that moment.

(This is obvious filler while I finish getting the new site ready. I hope to move things over tonight, where "tonight" may technically end up being "tomorrow". But there have been lots of distractions the last few days.)

Permalink | Tags: Culture, Randomness

June 29, 2006

Personal Advice from the Internet

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:36 PM

I had been debating whether to fly out to Connecticut this summer to visit friends, and if I do so, whether to take some extra time to tour New York City. Fortunately the internet came to the rescue with a trio of relevant posts:

Needless to say, after reading these my decision was much easier...

Permalink | Tags: Life, Randomness, Travel

June 13, 2006

Helium is the sweetest of the noble gases.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:12 PM

Slate worries about the dangers of helium. Yes, innocent, inert helium. Apparently, you might pass out and hit your head on something. Maybe next Slate will do an article on the threat of the liquid phase, on the grounds that it's really cold. I once took a spray of liquid helium full in the face—it was cool and refreshing!

Permalink | Tags: Lab, Randomness, Science

June 1, 2006

Thoughts on the way to lab

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:29 AM

Spotted no fewer than six U-Haul trucks on a half-mile stretch of Oxford St. Must be moving day.

I was having problems with my iPod for a while but got it working again. It was eerie to walk into a Jamba Juice, take off my headphones, and discover that the song I was just listening to was also playing on the store's speakers. (It was Mylo's "Drop The Pressure".)

Permalink | Tags: Berkeley, Music, Randomness

May 26, 2006

Life imitates Overcompensating

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 5:41 PM

On the first leg of my plane trip I was seated next to a guy named Kerry Edwards. Someone alert Jeffrey Rowland that he may have a primary challenge from someone else who is trying to save money on bumper stickers.

Permalink | Tags: Phone Post, Randomness, Travel

March 21, 2006


Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:59 PM

I'm not normally a squeamish person, but this Slate article on what to do if your eyeball falls out of its socket did me in. I had to go to Cute Overload for a chaser.

Permalink | Tags: Randomness

March 14, 2006

Good day for a physics talk

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 8:26 AM

Also, it's Albert Einstein's 127th birthday today. There's a lot of talk on Mixed States about "Pi Day" but this is contingent on the American convention for writing dates. Those countries that write the day first can instead celebrate "Pi Approximation Day" on July 22 (22/7).

Permalink | Tags: Physics, Randomness

March 1, 2006

Mathematical Fashions

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:30 PM

While we toil away on our experiments in Birge Hall, the works of our mathematical colleagues in neighboring Evans become ever more mysterious.

The Sarong Theorem Archive: This page is an electronic archive of images of people proving theorems while wearing sarongs.

So what theorem would you choose when preparing a photo for this page? I would go with the proof of the error bound on Simpson's Rule, but I should give Mason first dibs on that.

Via Bitch, Ph.D.

Permalink | Tags: Academia, Randomness, Science, UC Berkeley

February 26, 2006

Encountered in Berkeley

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 1:07 AM

Sort of like Overheard In New York, but with more sun and audience participation.

Scene: Saturday afternoon. I am walking on campus, on the path that runs along the south side of Strawberry Creek, near Haas Pavilion. I am accosted by a guy walking the other direction, who is not obviously a hobo.

Guy: Hey, do you know where I can find [unintelligible]?
AG: I'm sorry?
Guy: A gas station.
AG: There's one on Oxford, by—
Guy: Which way?
AG: [gesturing] Over there, down the—
Guy: [indicating my shirt, which is partly obscured by my jacket] Does that say "Mardi Gras"?
AG: No, it—
Guy: Oh, "marathon".
AG: Y—
Guy: Wanna go smoke a bowl?
AG: No—
Guy: Oh, you don't smoke weed?
AG: No—
Guy: Mushrooms?
AG: No.
Guy: Can I borrow a couple of dollars?
AG: Sorry. The gas station's that way.

Weird encounters are pretty common in this city, but this one was notable for combining nearly every weird aspect of Berkeley into a single (one-sided) conversation. I don't know which of the proposed chemicals he had consumed already, but something was clearly affecting his attention span.

Permalink | Tags: Berkeley, Life, Randomness

February 15, 2006

Pillow Fight Club

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:58 PM

I heard about this beforehand from three separate sources, and really wanted to go, but unfortunately had a group meeting.

Hundreds attend mass pillow fight

Roughly 1,000 people drawn by internet postings and word-of-mouth converged near San Francisco's Ferry Building on Tuesday night for a half-hour pillow fight.

The underground event erupted at 6 p.m. in the center of Justin Herman Plaza with a mass rush of shrieking, laughing combatants - many of whom arrived with pillows concealed in shopping bags, backpacks and the like.

Within minutes, pillows were arcing, feathers were flying, and by the time the Ferry Building's clock tower clanged the half-hour, the plaza and hundreds of people were covered in white down that gave the scene a wintry lustre.

This is the sort of thing that makes me love San Francisco.

Permalink | Tags: Randomness, San Francisco

February 13, 2006

Awesome Bible fact of the day

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:04 PM

Via a comment at Crooked Timber, I learn that the Bible uses a unit of weight called the "homer", which, literally translated, means: "an ass-load". No, seriously:

The word homer comes from a Hebrew word which means 'ass-load'. It may have been the amount that donkey could carry. The quail which fell in the wilderness were measured using the homer. The Homer or Cor contained 10 ephahs. Ezekiel 45:11,14 That would make it equal to about 6 bushels.

So how many homers are there in a metric fuck-ton?

Permalink | Tags: Randomness, Science, The Bible

February 4, 2006

Swallows might be more efficient

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:03 AM

"Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?"

"Not at all. They could be carried."

Via Boing Boing.

Permalink | Tags: Movies, Randomness, Religion, World

January 25, 2006

More Squid Apparel

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 1:39 PM

This would be a good shirt to wear to my March Meeting talk, if t-shirts were appropriate attire. Oh well. Maybe my next group seminar, then. (Via Pharyngula, naturally.)

Permalink | Tags: Randomness, Science

January 18, 2006


Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 10:16 PM

This made my day yesterday: the Mario question blocks distributed around the UC Berkeley campus.

mario question block!

This one is at Sather Gate. There was another hanging from a tree by Wheeler Hall, but it either fell or was taken (or somebody jumped and hit it with his head, and then took the item).

Permalink | Tags: Photos, Randomness, UC Berkeley

November 15, 2005

Fish, Barrel, etc.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 9:13 PM

This link is of course mean, cruel, and shallow, not to mention that it takes aim at some extremely easy targets. But when I was feeling frustrated by my experiment today, it's amazing how much my spirits were lifted by The First Annual MySpace Stupid Haircut Awards. (Via memepool.)

Permalink | Tags: Culture, Internet, Randomness

August 9, 2005

Rampant Consumerism

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 5:07 PM

It's hard to avoid encountering amusing and interesting t-shirt designs on the web, but never before have I instantly bought one. I could not, however, resist the tentacled pull of this pirate vs. squid shirt. (Via Pharyngula.) Apparently my work with SQUIDs has caused me to develop an appreciation for actual cephalopods.

Another instant purchase will be the Scary Go Round playing cards, as soon as they go on sale.

Permalink | Tags: Pirates, Randomness

August 7, 2005

Weekend Silliness (because I was busy Friday)

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 5:45 PM
I ran the front page of the blog through Rob's Amazing Poem Generator. All my memes come from Sean, apparently...

It did pick up a timestamp which I have replaced with an empty line.

Arcane Gazebo at an
empty table and other hand,
my memory of
dumbassery as
a hotel
room, often a GR
course? of
sleep paralysis.

Bush, supports
it seems more I have remarked
that explains the false impression that could potentially
replace it: Photo back in the
Dance is from the dream which
upon dreaming of Buffy,
but now naturally
I order Earl Grey, Hot The phone.
What this can
only three weeks late.
with this: week. The instructions on a
profound description In Italy.

More poems should use words like "dumbassery".
Permalink | Tags: Randomness, Website